'Stirner's Ethics of Voluntary Inservitude'

Newman, Saul. 2011. 'Stirner's Ethics of Voluntary Inservitude'. In: Saul Newman, ed. Max Stirner. UK: Palgrave, pp. 189-209. ISBN 0230283357 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

My aim in this chapter is to show how Stirner’s critical post-humanist philosophy allows him to engage with a specific problem in political theory, that of voluntary servitude – in other words, the wilful acquiescence of people to the power that dominates them. Here it will be argued that Stirner’s demolition of the abstract idealism of humanism, rational truth and morality, and his alternative project of grounding reality in the singularity of the individual ego, may be understood as a way of countering and avoiding this condition of self-domination. In contrast to various claims, then, that Stirner’s thought is nihilistic, one finds in Stirner a series of ethical strategies through which the self’s relation to power is interrogated and in which the possibility of alternative modes of subjectivity is opened up; where the subject can invent for himself new forms of existence and practices of freedom that release him from this condition of subjection. There emerges from Stirner’s thought a certain kind of micro-politics and ethics which has important implications for any consideration of radical politics today.

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October 2011Published

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30 Dec 2011 11:07

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30 Jun 2017 12:21



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